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Carlyle's House

A Georgian House Museum in Chelsea

Murray Birrell was appointed by the National Trust to project manage the external repairs and redecorations of this listed Georgian house in Chelsea. The house retains much of the original character including furniture and ornaments.

The house was built in 1708 and was occupied by Thomas Carlyle and his wife, Jane, from 1834. Thomas Carlyle established the London Library and was a very influential social commentator and historian. His followers, and visitors to the house, included Charles Dickens and John Ruskin.

The works included roofing, brickwork, joinery repairs and decorations and the provision of full scaffolding. All works had to be completed in a short timescale because the building is open to the public on Wednesdays for guided tours. 

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The home of these writers was purchased by public subscription after John Carlyle died in 1888. It was placed in the care of the Carlyle's House Memorial Trust, and was opened to the public in 1895. The National Trust later took over the running of the house in 1936 with the support of its founder Octavia Hill, who herself was a fan of Carlyle’s work.

It remains a fine example of a typical Victorian terraced house in Chelsea, West London, with many original features. However, at the time Thomas and Jane Carlyle moved here in 1834 from rural Scotland to seek their fortunes, it was an unfashionable area to live in.

Thomas Carlyle wrote much of his notable work in the attic here in Cheyne Walk, including The French Revolution: A History (1837), which is acknowledged as one of his most famous works.

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